Hambledon Mining plc is a gold mining and development group, which is operating the Sekisovskoye gold mine close to Ust Kamenogorsk in East Kazakhstan.
The Company has been mining from an open pit and operating an 850,000 tonnes per annum treatment plant since 2008. Underground mining at Sekisovskoye began in late 2011 on time and on budget but has been temporarily discontinued whilst the Company assesses the optimum method of extraction . It hopes to complete the purchase of Akmola Gold LLP, bringing in to the group two gold deposits with a combined resource of 440,000 ounces gold.
In December 2012, African Resources Ltd., an investment group, completed the purchase of a 60% holding in the Company through a partial tender offer.
Hambledon Mining starts underground mining at Sekisovskoye one month ahead of schedule
Kazakhstan focused Hambledon Mining (LON:HMB) has begun underground mining at the Sekisovskoye deposit one month ahead of schedule - marking a significant milestone in the project's development.
The underground mining will increase gold production and cash and underpin the firm's goal of profit growth, said Hambledon.
Tim Daffern, the firm's chief executive, said: "The successful commencement of underground mining marks a significant milestone in the development of Sekisovskoye and is the next step in expanding Hambledon’s long term gold production."
The news comes after the firm reported, after yesterday's close, that its mineral process plant re-started operations on November 7, as expected, after being temporarily suspended following a leak at tailings dam 3.
As previously reported on November 3, the brief suspension at Sekisovskoye is expected to result in a reduction of about 500 ounces of gold this month (November).
In today's statement, the firm said the underground ore at Sekisovskoye was being mined initially by a modified room and post pillar method by contractors using their own machinery.
Initial underground production levels are expected to be modest but are scheduled to increase steadily throughout 2012 and the grade is expected to average 5.5 grammes per tonne gold after dilution.
Mining will continue through next year using a combination of room and pillar and bulk mining methods as the architecture of the area is better understood and the mining method will be optimised to minimise production costs, the firm said.
A design study for the further development of the underground mine at Sekisovskoye is currently being completed and the operation is based on a long term target of around 850,000 tonnes per year to be reached in around 2017 - equating to a target of 100,000 ounces per annum.
"The underground mining will increase gold production and cash generation thereby underpinning the company’s objective of profits growth in Kazakhstan," added Daffern.